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‘Rani’ is a Hindi word that means ‘Queen’ while ‘gat’ is a Pashto word which means a ‘huge rock’. The remains of the valley, which owes its name to the huge standing rock on the top of the mountain that shoulders the ruins, can be seen from far off areas of the district.

According to the archeologists, Ranigat, a developed state, remained the center of Buddhist art and culture for centuries.

Ranigat, belonging to the period of first-sixth century AD and protected under the Antiquities Act 1975, has been a celebrated part of folklore – songs and stories of which still echo from the coffee-hued ruins in Totalai in the Buner District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes.  – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism.  – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors.  – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes.  – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism.  – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Beside the reconstruction of the site they also arranged for way in the mountain to facilitate the visitors. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
This area used to be a fairy-land for foreigners and many, including Japanese, came here for studies in the ancient times to learn Buddhism. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes.  – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
– Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
– Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Rani Ghat is the largest site in the Gandhara region comprising of 4 kilometer radius. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes.  – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai
Being a part of origin of Buddhist Gandhara Civilization it has also attracted re-construction funds from Japanese research institutes. – Photo by Naveed Yousafzai

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Comments (55) Closed



Dr. Cajetan Coelho Aug 15, 2014 08:07pm

Beautiful pictures. Thanks.

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skc Aug 15, 2014 08:52pm

Nice effort by Dawn. Hope the place remains protected.

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roshan Aug 15, 2014 09:56pm

Hope, Pakistanis can learn from this that who they were!

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Pakistani Aug 16, 2014 01:28am

beautiful It should be preserved for the future generations.

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Far sight Aug 16, 2014 02:47am

Is it the ruins of Takshashila University?

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javed Aug 16, 2014 08:59am

why not pakistan protected there past i dont understand they are your ancestors work we are not transported from arab we are real indian who lives these lands from centuries

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Sumit Mazumdar Aug 16, 2014 09:15am

To all who liked these pictures: google to find images of Nalanda University in Bihar, which existed from the 5th to the 12th century, way before Al Azhar in Cairo or Oxford in the west. I will guarantee you will be amazed. 10,000 resident students studied there at the height of the glory of the University. Also google and get to sites that show pictures of Ajanta caves - the second most visited historical place in India after Taj Mahal. The exquisite caves were constructed by Budhhist monks between the 3rd and the 8th century. Visitors will be amazed/pleased to find that the proud Indian guides who show the caves to the tourists are all Muslims (Ajanta is in Aurangabad a city with large Muslim population - the grave of Aurungzeb is here.)

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Salar Aug 16, 2014 09:48am

Thanks Mr. yousafzai for the nice effort and thank you dawn for publishing it. The pictures are very beautiful; however, I think it would have been nicer had a picture of the mighty rock (rani gat) itself was thrown in.

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Akmal Aug 16, 2014 10:03am

Nice material to read for both the angles: To know literary something important inside Pakistan and as for tourism. Photographs would have been more thrilling had a brief description had also been written of what each photograph portray.

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I.A Bangash Aug 16, 2014 11:11am

The Japanese have done their best to secure the place.One has to climb more than thousand stairs to reach the top, i wonder how the residents of that once glorious town would have managed to take the essentials to the top. What is worrisome is that, no more foreigners visit the site and perhaps the the archaeological deptt too has lost its interest in this place of historical imminence because when i visited the place a couple of years back i found that a beautiful room carved in a large boulder was being used as a cooking place by the visitors.

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Manzoor Ahmad Aug 16, 2014 11:27am

March of Imran Khan and his demand of resignation of prime minister are illegible. Prime Minister can only be removed by parliament.

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iqbal Aug 16, 2014 11:36am

we have no authentic historical account of the present day Nogram but some historian did mention a place then called AORNOS which was occupied by Elaxander during his campaign in India. It is mentioned in the book "The Campaign of Alexander" original written in Greek by Flavious Arrianus Xenophone. English version of this book is available. The book mention a rock which sheltered and defended the city of Aornos and which was captured after great difficulties by Macedonian troops led by Alexander some 300 years before the christian era. After capturing Aornos, Alexander moved towards Indus and then Taxila. Contemporary Indian ruling dynasty were Mauriyas and Ashoka was one of the ruler of that dynasty. Keeping this in mind, Nogram was a thriving city during Alexander stay in India and hence is more than 2500 years old. Some scholars, however, mentioned the present day Pir Sar as the old Aornos city. Any one having something authentic on the subject may share it with the readers.

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Qazi Zohaib Aqil Aug 16, 2014 12:08pm

Beautiful pictures. It would have been better if coordinates this place are mentioned so one can view it or find way to this place in google maps or gps.

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Aam Shehree Aug 16, 2014 12:19pm

Very good information

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K G Surendran Aug 16, 2014 12:29pm

Unfortunately Pakistanis have been brainwashed to forget their glorious and ancient past just to further the cause of religion. Archaeological discoveries, carbon dating and a scientific approach mostly by western researchers are revealing information of an ancient civilization which was the bedrock of stunning thoughts and knowledge.

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iqbal Aug 16, 2014 12:48pm

It may be the city of AORNOS mentioned in the Campaign of Alexander written in Greek by Flavious Arrianus Xenophon. Accounts of its capture. location and inhabitants fits on present day Nogram.After its capture, the Macedonians went towards Indus and then to Taxila.

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iqbal Aug 16, 2014 12:48pm

It may be the city of AORNOS mentioned in the Campaign of Alexander written in Greek by Flavious Arrianus Xenophon. Accounts of its capture. location and inhabitants fits on present day Nogram.After its capture, the Macedonians went towards Indus and then to Taxila.

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Anees Aug 16, 2014 01:23pm

@Qazi Zohaib Aqil - It's not far away from SWABI city. You need to go on Mardan Road for about 6-8 km and then take right to Saleem Khan Village Road. Not far away from there.

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Shah Aug 16, 2014 02:08pm

@roshan We know very well who we are and the history of our land. This while you guys deliberately undermine the Muslim period of India which civilized your ancestors.

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Afzal Mir Aug 16, 2014 03:02pm

Very impressive.Thank Mr. Yusufzai and Dawn.

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Manu Aug 16, 2014 03:34pm

Eye opening - thanks

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gopal Aug 16, 2014 05:10pm

There is no point in talking thisnow, the brains had been washed many times over.

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Sudhakar Aug 16, 2014 05:57pm

History is strange...how can a middle eastern country with Arab ethos, history and culture have a hill named 'Rani Ghat' and have Buddhist ruins?

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Weirdity Aug 16, 2014 08:13pm

The real question is who turned this place into ruins?

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Ganga Din Aug 16, 2014 10:00pm

Nice pictures but is there something to be learned here. All I can say is that they used local materials to build and did not interfere with or destroy the natural beauty of the landscape. Can we all do that today? Think about it.

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Ganga Din Aug 16, 2014 10:01pm

@Weirdity: Nature. If you don't interfere, nature has a way of turning everything back to the way it was. Just look around.

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Agnostic Aug 16, 2014 10:07pm

@Shah, you forgot what do you mean by "your ancestor". They were also your ancestor and so a better word would be "our ancestor". They were Buddhist, Hindus, Animist and Others.

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mohammed yaqub Aug 16, 2014 10:14pm

@Sudhakar, arabs conqured these lands.civilised the hearthens of these lands

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Thinker Aug 16, 2014 10:24pm

@mohammed yaqub : "Civilized" them and made them Taliban ?

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Moiz Omar Aug 17, 2014 01:33am

Beautiful and amazing.

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A.A.Jee Aug 17, 2014 02:55am

Yousafzai have made an everlasting effort. He has served the cause best to open eyes of the relevant quarters to take congnizance of the prevailing conditions of these afrtifacts attached to our heritage, what we were before someone became Muslim in this continent. I do cherish it as a muslim. Its an asset for Pakistan to take pains to save it for future generations to see the transformation step by step. Well done Yousafzai, highly appreciable. Thanks for the effort. Must know the historical name of Peshawar was Pushkalawati at the time of Alexander the Great and so most of the modern names are derivatives, even for Lahore as it started from Lahoo.

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A.A.Jee Aug 17, 2014 02:59am

@K G Surendran I do agree with your thought, furthermore, lethargy of heads heading this country for aims otherwise.

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shameed Aug 17, 2014 03:12am

I truly hope this gem is protected

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Shaukat Aug 17, 2014 04:41am

@Weirdity ,period of about 3000 years,rains,sun and polluted weather.We should care about humanity NOW,not few bricks and stones.

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ROHIT PANDEY Aug 17, 2014 01:18pm

@Sumit Mazumdar May Aurangazeb rest easy in his grave..and let the tourists enjoy the Ajanta caves in peace as well!!!:):):)

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Asif A. Shah Aug 17, 2014 06:20pm

Buddhism is a religion of peace. It does not have elaborate system of rules like other religions of the Middle East. It has simple eight principles based on " Right Things." Its emphasis on Right Speech is worthy one and needs to be followed; specially for Pakistani politicians. I thank Dawn for publishing the pictures of Ranigat, Buner, Pakistan. It is the cultural heritage of the land called Pakistan. It is ironic that Japanese people who work so hard for their money contribute in preserving the Pakistani cultural heritage. On the other hand, Pakistani philanthropists completely ignore it. I suspect most of them do not even know the existence of Ranigat. Paksitani people should be empowered with the knowledge of its past if we have to fight extremism. It is in everybody's interests.

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M.N.Iqbal Aug 17, 2014 06:50pm

nice picture Heritage should be well preserved for the future generation. story of civilization is so interesting thought provoking . we are fascinated by it ..

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I.A Bangash Aug 18, 2014 12:51am

The site is hardly at a drive of 25 minutes from swabi city. Reaching the top is quite a task..as one has to climb around 1000 stairs to get to the site. What is worrisome is that no foreigners now visit the place even when it is comparatively safe. Also visitors use a beautifully carved room in a large boulder as cooking place( zoom in on the sixth pic from the top).

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Shahryar Shirazi Aug 18, 2014 08:38am

@Sudhakar Because Pakistan is not a Middle Eastern country. Its a South Asian country.

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Old-many-wives economics Aug 18, 2014 10:01am

@Shah: Robbed them, disrupted their cultural continuity and bastardized the land and its people brutally, until the British came to do the same in their own way. Invaders should reflect about the next invader waiting in the wings!

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Kartik Aug 18, 2014 12:23pm

Pak has such cultural gems. There were times people lived in full cities in Pak and India when the rest of the world were still living in caves. Ironically most in pak still believe that they were uncivilized wretches until islam happened to them

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P.Mishra Aug 18, 2014 02:07pm

Beautiful pictures. Let us preserve these sites for our posterior.

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Sudhakar Aug 18, 2014 04:40pm

@Shahryar Shirazi : "@Sudhakar Because Pakistan is not a Middle Eastern country. Its a South Asian country." Really? Sir, may be you should educate those fellow Pakistani's who vociferously deny that Pakistan is a South Asian country and argue that it is a ME country.

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Vittal Aug 18, 2014 07:39pm

Pakistanis have been brainwashed into thinking that their race and culture are Middle Eastern or Arabic. What better example that the following incident to refute such a mindset. While I was a student from India at university of Michigan during the 60s, I had the privilege of being invited to a Pakistani Cultural event which I really enjoyed thoroughly. Before dinner was served, I unwittingly asked my host what kind of food you guys eat, his un hesitating answer: " Indian Food". Pakistanis, Indiians,and Bangladeshis are children of the same Mother. If I walk the streets of Lahore, no one will ask me where I'm from. Needless to say chicken tikka melted in my mouth.

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subhash chaudhari Aug 18, 2014 10:14pm

Thanks Dawn for throwing light on our common cultural heritage. No doubt it's a work of our ancestors.

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Rick Aug 19, 2014 09:48am

@Shaukat then why care about 1400 year structures?

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Shah Aug 19, 2014 01:18pm

@Old-many-wives economics Islam brought India to the world stage and was the greatest Sultanate under Aurangzeb with 25% of GDP and 1/3rd of the world's population. The people prospered under Muslim rule and your ancestors were civilized and much better off compared to people from other part of the world.. To this day the 1st symbol of India remain a Muslim monument in Agra. The world's most beautiful building was built by people who loved their country. Undermining your own history will not change it, emrace it in stead.

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Qasim Aug 19, 2014 02:29pm

in 2006 UNESCO Approved the nomination of RaniGat as a archaeological site and they included it in the world heritage list, this is the second archaelogical site in KPK after Takhtbai Mardan, i will be thankfull to Mr.Yousafzai if you higlight the same HD picture of that site.

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rahul Aug 19, 2014 03:12pm

@Shah This subcontinent has witnessed rise of religions, decimation of religions(BUddhism) and finally co-existence of several religions.Do not have this wrong notion that ALL Indians want to undermine muslim period. This notion your grandfathers had and they decided to separate out based on religion and you know the consequences The budhhist would have the same anguish because their culture, yes culture, got wiped out from this region by Islamic invasions. BUt that religion is highly spiritual & peaceful so you dont see much retaliation. Muslims should now learn from other religions to co-exist and respect multiple views

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Kamath Aug 19, 2014 03:52pm

@iqbal Thank you for doing a bit of historical research. History to a nation is what memory is to a human being. Without it, we wander and we wouldn't know where we came from and where we are going. [ I am quoting from an eminent historian from my vague recollection]

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Swabian Aug 19, 2014 07:10pm

Beautiful photography!! I have been to this site, the remains of the buddhist history are amazing to see. Good effort by dawn. However, the picture of Rani Gat (A huge rock fixed in a vertical position on the top of the mountain) is not shown. It would have been wonderful for the audience since the rock is simply amazing to be seen.

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Naveed Yousafzai Aug 20, 2014 05:13pm

@Salar Thank you Salar.

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Naveed Yousafzai Aug 20, 2014 05:14pm

@Afzal Mir Thank you.

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Abakhelyousafzai Aug 22, 2014 11:51am

Dear Naveed,

Your effort regarding a historical site in Swabi is appreciating. Being SWABIWAL, I endorse your work, passion for ancient sites and nice pictures. I am of the view, that entire belt i.e. Swat, Mardan, Buner, Swabi & Taxila has number of budhist sites, most of them are near to extinct as work for their conservation is almost negligible. Swabi alone can be a major tourist resort if these ancient sites are property preserved. There is long list, better known to Archaelogy & Museum Department, they must wake up now, as it is now or never like situation.

Thanx

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Nadia Khan Aug 22, 2014 12:28pm

Beautiful indeed !!

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